tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN November 5, 2015 12:00am-2:01am EST
for what purpose does the gentleman from oklahoma seek recognition? mr. mullin: i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 16 printed in part b of house report 114-326, offered by mr. mullin of oklahoma. the chair: pursuant to hougs resolution 512, the gentleman from oklahoma, mr. mullin, and a member opposed each will control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from yk. mr. mullin: the agency provides credits to automakers that produce alternative fuel the agency provides alternative fuel vehicles. natural gas has vehicles. it is a growing and source of
uels, if we are going to incentive advise,. my amendment encourages the natural gas vehicles. same inventtives for it provides for electric vehicles . in a state like my state, and it can be few and far between. and they are afraid they won't have access. the surface transportation bill encourages the bill that natural bill. my amendment will encourm vehicles that will actually consume the nationality tral gas fuel. amendment.ommonsense
and i reserve. the chair: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. for what purpose does gentlewoman seek time. ms. schakowsky: i rise in opposition which would undermain the obama administration tailpipe trations. provides the benefits and on oil. reduce relines and our health. by 2025, these rules are $25cted to expected to save $million and and reduce america's dependence on oil.
these are rules that have been overwhelming success due the participation of multiple stake healeders groups. and state ap local governments and than tall organizations. ese rules are good for manufacturers. this amendment would undermine the rules by reirgquiring e.p.a. ovided for electric vehicles and it requires e.p.a. to go to hyperules. sense. it makes no
the amendment would say that natural gas vehicles are different in terms of their tillpipe emissions and the miles per gallon. hey already have seen numerous incentives and natural gas vehicles are established thisology and l is no food is in contrast. the amendment is not justified for the climate perfect tism and there are game changers. on the other hand, natural gas
vks continue to depend on fossil fuels. fuelbecause natural gas is nd it would have been and g.h. g. fram. ap this is for automobile anufacturers creating a loop heel that would produce other hicles ap meet other requirements. his is appear essential rule and including stake hold ink and undermines policies. and i reserve. the chair: the gentlewoman from
illinois reserves. -- mulvaney: all i listen gentlelady the states that to drive around but the power that they are charged by tip skeal is produced by coal and natural gas power plants. it doesn't make any sense. the e.p.a. has said their missions fits in their pro file. allow natural gas to be on a power field. winners n't be playing
reserve. risers, i'll he chair: the gentleman from recognized. ms. schakowsky: how much time do i have remaining? and-a-half nisme minutes. goodchakowsky: queff mad a deal of suck cyst. it is a disservice to consumers and all the stake horders and the unions and the consumers groups and anybody who has bought into these rules and i would urge a no vote and i yield back. the chair: the the gentlewoman
yields back. >> i yield back. the chair: the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from oklahoma. thaferede. those opposed, no. the amendment is agreed to. ms. schakowsky: i ask tore a ask for a roll call vote. order to now in consider amendment number 17 6. idered in part b in 11 - >> i have an amendment at the desk.
the clerk: amendment number 17 text by mr. burgess of at. the chair: the gentleman from texas, each will control five minutes. the chair recognizes the yasm texas. mr. burgess: this amendment is to security government reforms nd we are able to exercise oversight and we want to make things hat with we be for ager life of cars and longer period of time. i will extends the sometime fer time. the ded the bipartisan for
levels to ovideded advance work. this is and important amendment. and i reserve. the chair: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. ms. schakowsky: i clail time in opposition. y reducing oppositions, miss amendment is making impossible for the administration to carry out its administration and in cuts funding and the amendment requires more recording for the resources for admissions to save
lives and save lives. average age of cars on is years.a-half this amendment requires manufacturers to keep record for 5 years and and the recent recall that were more than 10 g.m. ld, and affected cars would have to pay. replicats for standards cars . and they lovent look like a car that was made 25 years ago. these cars quo be made exempt
and we have no idea how many cars will enched up on the road. itch manufacturer is limited, there are month limited . the like.olume un from the e.p.a.'s emission standards. they would be exempt and from the standards. in the wake of the standal, it s unthinkable we would make it rifplg.public health at and this is at guidelines.
the bakic operations of the national highway traffic safety administration that were revealed earlier this year and reported in an inspector general's report. again, in an unprecedented move after the i.g. report was released, the national highway traffic safety administration publicly committed to a timeline to implement all the inspect jor yen's recommendations because of their serious and direct impact on nhtsa's ability to fulfill its core mission. i'm grateful to n in it is a that it -- to nhtsa that they had this commitment to reforms. just like the senate, our amendment provides for additional funding for the national highway traffic siff tai administration. it would increase fund big 23 1/2% forphysial year 2016 and over 7% for fiscal year 2017. from the authorized levels in the underlying bill. maybe we don't go as far as the senate but these are significant and generous increases. again, i will urge my cloges to
support the amendment and reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman from texas reserves. the gentlewoman from illinois has one and a half minutes remaining. ms. schakowsky: thank you, madam chairman. actually, though there is an increase in my chairman's bill. it is also a significant decrease from what the senate has added to the national highway traffic safety administration. deaths e have so many on the road and nhtsa has been significantly underfunded, it definitely makes sense to as fully fund them as they can to provide their mission of auto safety. and so for all the -- for that reason and all the others i listed, i urge my colleagues to vote no on this legislation. i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentlewoman yields back. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. burgess: i yield myself the
balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. burgess: this amendment also required the national highway traffic safety administration to issue an agenda on december 1 of every year detailing the agency's polity priorities, their planned rule makings and any planned alterations to the agency's structure. that's a good idea. regulated entities especially should have an idea of what the agency is, where their focus is going to be in the upcoming months and years. the last time the national highway traffic safety administration published a plan regular port was 2011. they're asking us for more money. we're providing them with more money. all we ask is they provide us a tpwhrimps into what their strategy is as to how that money will be effectively spent. this is a good amendment. i urge my colleagues to support it. i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman yields back. the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from texas. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no.
in the opinion of the opinion of the chair the ayes have it. the seament agreed to. ms. schakowsky: i ask for a roll call vote. the chair: pursuant to clause 6 of rule 18, further proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from texas will be postponed. it is now in order to consider amendment number 18 printed in art b of house report 114-326. for what purpose does the gentleman from texas, mr. neugebauer, seek recognition? mr. neugebauer: i have an amendment at the desk. the clerk: the -- the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 18 printed in house report 114-326, offered by mr. neugebauer of texas. the chair: her spuent to house resolution 512, the gentleman from texas, mr. neugebauer and a member opposed each will control five minute. the chair recognizes the
gentleman from texas. mr. neugebauer: i yield myself such time as i may consume. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. neugebauer: i rise today to offer amendment number 18 with my good friend mr. huizenga from michigan. first let me say i don't think it's good policy that we're trying to fund transportation from other sect yoffers the economy. this amendment does seek to address two major issues in the budget offset sent over from the senate. the federal reserve dividend increase and the g.p. increase. moving forward with the federal reserve dividend reduction could have a devastating consequence for the stability of the federal reserve system. the cost that banks, especially community banks, could face would be passed on to hardworking consumers. at a time when many americans continue to strugfrl the unintended consequences of dodd-frank it would be dangerous and irresponsible to move forward with the senate version. second, this amendment addresses what i see as a further
entrenchment of fannie mae and freddie mac. this is particularly timely because just this week we learned that freddie and fannie may need to tap the treasury once again and sad they will taxpayers with the bill. this amendment further proteches the taxpayers, allowing congress to continue to raise fees will make comprehensive housing finance reform impossible. our amendment addresses both problems by liquidating and dissolving the federal reserve capital surplus account. the federal reserve currently has about $29 billion in capital surplus account this account is made up of the earn thegs federal reserve has retained from nsting member bank's money. let me say that again. the surplus account is made up of earnings that the federal reserve has made from informsing member banks' money. the federal reserve continues to hold this account in surplus at a time when our nation is, is over $18.5 trillion in debt. this is not a perfect policy but
it's better than the alternative. it preserves the neutrality of the bill and counters irresponsible proposals sent to us by the senate. further, it protects from cost increases will reforming the surplus account to meet the needs of the crisis. when the surplus was created, no one could have imagined the debt and deficits we are facing. it is appropriate to liquidate this account. i hope this body will ensure that transportation funding comes from transportation users and not completely unrelated sectors of the economy. madam chair new york close, i ask unanimous consent to submit for the record a joint trade letter of support from 27 banking and housing groups in support of amendment number 18. the chair: the gentleman's request is covered by yen leave. mr. neugebauer: i reserve. the chair: the gentleman reserves. for what purpose does this gentlewoman from california seek recognition? ms. waters: i claim time in
opposition to the amendment. the chair: the gentlewoman is recognized for five minutes. ms. waters: i yield to my -- to myself as much time as i may consume. the chair: the gentlewoman is recognized. ms. waters: madam chairwoman, i rise in opposition to this amendment. the neugebauer amendment represents a poorly designed attempt to cover the cost of the highway bill. my colleague from texas is concerned that the senate's underlying provisions would cut the largest banks' guaranteed 6% dividend payments from the federal reserve as well as extend a 10 basis point fee on new mortgage, although not until 2021. in place of those provisions, my colleague would eliminate the federal reserve surplus account without even considering whether it could harm monetary policy or our economic security in the decades ahead.
now, i previously expressed concern about using fannie mae and freddie mac as a piggy bank to pay for unrelated government spending. instead, republicans should finally take up housing financing reform, despite criminaling this house for almost five years, theavend senate for nearly two, republicans have entirely failed to reform the housing markets, despite claiming that the mortgage giants caused the crisis. regarding the other senate provision, i'm not sure why the largest banks should be entitled to a permanent dive dent payment of 6% a year. how many of my colleagues are there -- or their constituents have a safe investment that pays this well? in fact, most of my constituents are lucky to earn a penny a month on their bank accounts. yet when the senate first proposed to cut these bank dividends, house republicans
urged that congress first study what would be the effect before changing the law. the federal reserve surplus account, which mr. neugebauer proposes to eliminate permanently to protect the bank dividends has promoted global confidence in u.s. monetary policy for more than 100 years. federal reserve officials explained to the g.a.o. that maintaining capital including the surplus account provides an assurance of the central bank's strength and stability to investors and foreign holders of u.s. currency. that's why central banks around the world including the bank of england, the european central bank and the german central bank all make use of surplus accounts. nevertheless, my republican colleagues are willing to cut this monetary policy tool without knowing what the long-term effect would be. during the 2008 financial crisis, the federal reserve took
unprecedented action to prevent economic collapse by purchasing trillions of dollars of assets. during the countless hearings with federal reserve chair bernanke and yellen, my colleagues suggested that the federal reserve is leveraged more than lehman brothers, pointing out that the fed surplus is inadequate to protect losses to the taxpayer. but with this amendment, they would eliminate for all time all fed surplus which based on republican logic would be infinite leverage. i would reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentlewoman from california reserves. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. neugebauer: it's my pleasure to yield to the gentleman from michigan, mr. huizenga, the co-sponsor of this bill two minutes. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes,
which leaves the gentleman from texas one quarter of a minute. mr. neugebauer: i yield the gentleman for a minute and a half. mr. huizenga: thank you, madam cheer. i appreciate the gentleman from texas. folks watching this at this late hour, you're unfortunately seeing politics over policy. the ranking member wants to agree but just can't let herself. the -- this policy that we have seen, 73% of the democrats on her committee signed a letter saying we need to hit the pause button. we need to make sure we understand what this policy that got shipped over to us from the senate is going to mean. unfortunately, it's been plunged ahead and we're moving ahead with this and this is less than ideal policy that we're looking at. but our choice isn't good choice
versus bad choice. our choice is less than ideal versus very bad chose. what we are seeing here is that we need to examine this further. it hasn't been looked at in over 50 years from the financial services committee, i hope, two things, one that we are going to have a change in the way that the house operates. i believe that that new day has arrived and we'll be doing that. but we're not sure exactly what this fixed rate is going to be. i will point out that with that 6% return, the fed has been able o build up a $29 billion surplus account which is where we are today. so chairman hensarling of financial services had written the g.a.o. requesting a study of that. i put out a letter where we had 150 colleagues, bipartisan letter, that was fwarred. and what we're doing is a better offset. we are believing that this is a
better way to go rather than raiding fannie and freddie and the g fees and the budget. the chair: the gentlewoman is recognized. ms. waters: i yield to the gentleman from california one minute, mr. brad sherman. the chair: the gentlewoman has one and a half minutes remaining. the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. sherman: i thank the gentlelady for yielding. especially because i rise in favor of this amendment. not because it's perfect but because it deals with a fundamental problem in the underlying legislation. how are we going to fund our highway system? some would argue a tax on motorists. some would argue the general revenue of the united states. i don't know anyone who can really make the argument that we ought to have a tax on home
buyers to fund highways. yet that's what the underlying bill does. it impose as tax on whoverpb gets a mortgage or refinances a mortgage. and uses that for highways. i'm confident that if we pass this amendment, the conference committee will take a look at how to finance this bill and will come up with a better way than the idea of imposing a tax on everyone that basically means middle class homeowners who uses fannie mae or freddie mac in order to buy a home or refinance a home. i yield back. the chair: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from texas has 45 seconds remaining. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. neugebauer: i reserve. the chair: the gentlewoman from california has 30 seconds remaining. ms. waters: thank you.
i'd like to draw to your attention that neugebauer's original amendment would have called for -- paused for one year and studied it. he changed it to strip it for ever and keep the dividend. republicans had every opportunity to ask federal reserve chair janet yellen about this or her thoughts on cutting the dividend payments. but instead they peppered her for three hours with a sundry of other questions, rather than one proposal being considered to eliminate a 100-year-old monetary policy tool. yesterday my republican colleagues sought to hamstring the federal reserve. i ask for a no vote. the chair: the gentlelady's time has expire this egentleman from texas is recognized. mr. neugebauer: i yield to the distinguished chairman of the house financial services committee, mr. hensarling of texas. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for 45 seconds. mr. hensarling: i thank the
gentleman for yielding. transportation ought to be funded out of transportation fees. it shouldn't be funded out of the functional equivalent of a bank account tax. it should not be funded on the backs of home buyers or particularly those taxpayers who are forced to back stop fannie and freddie. if we're ever going to have a sustainable housing finance system in americaing the guarantee fees cannot be diverted. i want to thank the gentleman from texas, i want to thank the gentleman from michigan, no, they didn't come up with the perfect solution. but it is far superior than this bank account tax and really this home buyer tax. it makes no sense whatsoever so i urge the entire house to adopt the neugebauer amendment and get rid of this terrible idea from the senate. i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the question is on he amendment
the chair: thaped. he ayes have it. recorded vote. pursuant to clause 6, rule 18, further proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from texas bib postponed. it is now in order to consider umber 19 printed in part b 114 326. >> i have an amendment at the desk. the clerk: amendment number 19, rinted house report.
the speaker pro tempore: the arizona, the chair reck nayses the gentleman rom gosar. r. gosar: i or an amendment. this is to improve the permitting process and should not be allowed to vote the ex pe dited process. the bill establishes a new council for stream declining for projects. .p.a. the is give yep a far to be bigger voice.
. this it is important to note that it is not to be a cooperating agent to be eash croum. is will be of comprised 16 members. and cournltly the bill a louis wrong. o be and this is the e.p.a. stated and i quote, it is important to recognize the e.p.a. is rarely if air the resuing agent. t is more often one of a magger. e projects present wire laws
chafrlte does any member wish to laim time in opposition? the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. sm the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from ard. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. he amendment is agreed to. it is now in order to consider mendment number 0 in part b. for what purpose does the gentleman from michigan seek recknegs? >> i have an amendment at the defpblg. blateblate vea hair: the demrasm from
s. 208 was incorporated and so is included in the base bill. in the two bills. the house bills to shorten the time it takes to short yep litigation and and litigants to the claims before agencies reviews.ency and it ex pe indicted the time efore acting to a prove or dis he prove. open ltiment hoop lools the doors without end and without standard. e offer to fix this problem by
mr. johnson: i ry in opposition. yield such time as i maim consume. i ry in opposition it. tilet 1 adopts the federal permiting act. i have serious object jeckses to tle 61 in a transportation bill. is was attached to the manager's amendment. on it was adopted in a an a don'ted process. introduce s not been in the house. an area for lves a
. requires these requirements on which the party que. judicial re and they would have to resigh in the period amb acknowledge. tle 6 requires courts consider the job losses and considering whether to join a project that has been been challenged. these harms of are irrepublicable of ra. and in health and safety and the environment. ap would have the effect of
having to have the project. thela. erm violates third, under current law the blic has six laws to bring claims which provides for citizens. ilt 61 provides for tw years ror ever for the projects. bad it is accepting legislate without bad legislation ladies and gentlemen . this is yet another yet pro-coorpt designed by the zoner
class. i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the chair: the gentleman from virginia has two and a half minutes remaining. the gentleman from pennsylvania is recognized. mr. marino: thank you, madam chair. thank you mr. goodlatte for the ime. streamlining the process has been among my goal. two times the house has passed this erapid act, a bill i sponsored in the 113th and 114th congress. our goal is to fix the flaws in the federal process that doom worthy projects that could collectively create millions of
-- hundreds of job and millions of $s in economic activity. in just my home state of pennsylvania, one 2011 study found that the stalled energy projects alone would produce an average of over 56,000 jobs a year and over $44 billion in economic output. the potential growth in the american economy is staggering. worthy projects across the country should not die on the vine while awaiting federal bureaucratic approval. this amendment achieves these goals and i am pleased to offer it with the chairman. it builds upon the reforms already encompassed in several bills passed by the house transportation and infrastructure committee and signed into law. perhaps most importantly, we have reached agreement on this amendment in a bipartisan fashion. it has been one of the honors of my time in congress to reach not only across the aisle but across
chambers to work with senator portman and senator mccaskill on these reforms in this amendment. i urge all my colleagues and members to join us in supporting this important amendment that will put americans to work and help stimulate economic growth. i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman from virginia reserves. the gentleman from georgia is recognized. he has one minute remaining. >> madam -- mr. johnson: madam chair, this is a bad amendment. for that reason, i ask that my colleagues vote along with me to disapprove of this amendment. with that, i yield back. the chair: the gentleman from georgia yields back. the gentleman from virginia is recognized. mr. goodlatte: i yield myself the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman is recognized.
mr. goodlatte: this is a very good amendment that will help create hundreds of thousands of jobs by getting projects that have been delayed all across this country moving if supported by many on both sides of the aisle in both chambers of this institution and we worked closely with democrats and republicans and we've worked closely with the white house on this language. this is ready for prime time. this is ready to go. it's very appropriate to include it in this legislation because transportation projects will be the biggest beneficiary of this streamlining or permitting that will take place as a result of adoption of this legislation. i urge my colleagues to support this amendment and the underlying bill. the chair: the gentleman's time has expired. the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from virginia. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair the ayes have it. the amendment is agreed to.
it is now in order to consider amendment number 21 printed in art b of house report 114-326. for what purpose does the gentleman from texas seek recognition? mr. hensarling: madam chairman, i have an amendment at the desk. the clerk: the derek -- the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 21 printed in house report 114-326, offered by mr. hensarling of texas. the chair: pursuant to house -- the gentleman from texas and a member opposed each will control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from texas. mr. hensarling: i yield myself such time as i may consume. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. hensarling: people are still hurting in this economy, madam chair. we all know that. and we need to do everything we can as a house to promote
economic growth. it's very difficult in this chamber and in this institution to come by bipartisan legislation. but i'm proud to say in the house financial services committee, we have passed numerous pieces of bipartisan legislation. they are modest because they are bipartisan but they are nonetheless important and can make a difference in people's lives. there are 15 bills that have already passed the house financial services committee either unanimously or near unanimously and then have gone to the house to be debated and have been passed almost all of them unanimously by voice vote or near 400-plus votes. they're bills like h.r. 2064 to help with emerging growth company regulatory reforms.
h.r. 25 that simplifies the security and exchange commission disclosure. h.r. 432, the small investment company regulatory relief act. and a numb of bills like these. that have typically passed our committee 57-0, for example. 60-0. 53-0. and then have gone on to pass the house by voice vote. again, these are bipartisan bills. they are modest bills. but they happen to be jermaine to this -- germane to this transportation bail because -- bill because of the revenue stream, the funding sthorks pay-for in the transportation bill. so because they have already been debated in committee, passed in committee, debated in the house, passed in the house, we are simply packaging 15 of these bills together because there's an opportunity to have these become law and benefit the american people. with that, i reserve the balance
of my time. the chair: the gentleman from texas reserves. for what purpose does the gentlewoman from california rise? ms. waters: i claim time in opposition to the amendment. the chair: the gentlewoman is recognized for five minutes. ms. waters: i yield myself such time as i may consume. the chair: the gentlewoman is recognized. ms. waters p.c. mr. chairman this amendment combines 15 financial services bills that have had broad bipartisan support and passed through the committee and on the house floor. these bills address important issues that range from helping to preserve affordable rental housing to providing regulatory relief to small banks and reporting companies to affording startup emerging growth companies and community financial institutions with greater flexibility to raise capital. let me be clear. i have supported these bills in committee and on the floor. members, chair, and
this congress is made up of two houses. the house of representatives and the senate. and just as we were given the opportunity to debate and amend these bills, taking into account concerns from our constituents and interested stake hold the senate should also be given the opportunity. i'm also concerned that with the other amendments and their potential negative effect on this set of bills, for example, representative young, has an amendment that would require rule making in the highway bill to include a list of information upon which it is based including data, scientific and economic studies, and cost benefitage cease and identify how the public can access such information online. what this means is that the securities and exchange commission, in conducting its rule making, under chairman hensarling's amendment would
face this additional administrative hurdle including the then-sounding cost benefit analysis. however, cost benefit analysis is a tool that's been used by the industry and the opposite side of the aisle both in agencies and in the courts and in congress to delay, weaken, or kill necessary reforms. such analysis encourages sec guessing, favors easily quantity final costs over less tangible benefits and is extremely resource intensive. that is why my democratic colleagues and i have opposed its application to the s.e.c. an agency that already performs economic analysis for its rule making and has enough on its plate wits additional responsibilities under the jobs act and dodd-frank act. requires the s.e.c. to conduct an onerous cost-benefit analysis is even more concerning with the
republicans' refusal to adequately fund the agency. so the meager existing funds would have to be diverted from other important s.e.c. functions like enforcement and investigations. cost benefit analysis and represent -- and representative young's amendment is also opposed by consumer advocates like the coalition for sensible safe gards while again i support the 15th financial services bill and this amendment i oppose this process of pushing them through the house attached to the highway bill. madam chairwoman and members, again, this is about process. i do believe that the senate should have the ability to debate these bills. coming out of the financial services committee, we are tasked with the responsibility to take very complicated subject matter, financial services matters, and to make sure that the give -- that we give every
member an opportunity to have input, to have credible debate, and i just believe that the senate should have that opportunity. so while we have supported these bills, and mr. hensarling is correct, we had an opportunity to do that because we understood them very well. we debated them. we had an opportunity to have input, to ask questions, to do everything that you need to do to be well informed about legislation that you are either supporting or opposing. and so again, this is about process and i just simply believe that the senate should have the right to debate and i will yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentlewoman yields back. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. hensarling: i yield myself as much time as i may consume. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. hensarling: i was listening carefully to my ranking member
and i think the translation is, i was for the bills before i was against the bills. i think she just said she supported all of these on the committee and the floor, she just doesn't support them tonight. and apearntly the reason has something to do with the fact that the senate, the other body, the other chamber, perhaps hasn't gone through the same process that we have. i didn't know it was our business to do the senate business. our business is to propose and support what the house has done. so i don't know if the ranking member sees the other body as a group of shrinking violates who cannot take care of themselves who will somehow be overwhelmed by one particular amendment. i would remind all members there is this thing called a conference committee between the house and between the senate to work out differences.
they have many matters in the senate bill that have not been debated in the house. yet those will be taken up in conference committee. so it's late in the evening, madam chair, as you well know and i have heard a lot of very, very interesting things throughout the hours and hours of debate. but i simply cannot understand how members can come to the floor and essentially tell us, we were for all of these bills but we're no longer for all of these bills. we were for them before we were against them because we're just afraid the senate somehow can't take care of themselves. i think we should reject that. these are bills that were passed unanimously and near unanimously in the house. they're bipartisan, they include republican bills, democrat bills, the ranking member as much as i respect her, this argument makes no sense to me whatsoever. the house has already spoken on these matters. let's get the people's business
done. i urge all members to adopt the amendment and i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman yields back. the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from texas. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. he amendment is agreed to. it is now in order to consider amendment number 22 printed in part b of house report 114-326. for what purpose does the gentleman from oklahoma seek recognition? >> i have an amendment at the esk. the chair: does the gentleman rise as the designee from the gentleman from michigan? for the gentleman from michigan? >> yes. the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 22
printed in part b of house report 114-326, offered by mr. mullin of oklahoma. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 512, the gentleman from oklahoma, mr. mullin, and a member opposed each will control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from oklahoma. mr. mullin: i'm offering this amendment on behalf of chairman upton and i would like to thank him for his leadership on the energy issues. s that noncontroversial provision that has bipartisan support -- that had bipartisan support when it was reported out of the full committee. with that, i would urge my colleagues to support it and i'll reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves. does any member wish to claim time in opposition to the amendment? mr. uestion is on the -- mullin: i would like to yield such time as the gentleman from
texas may consume. the chair: the gentleman from texas is recognized. >> i thank my friend from oklahoma. special thanks to committee chairman upton from michigan for having this important amendment to the highway bill. his amendment is common sense. there's a great saying in america, the third time is a charm. these exact words have passed this body three times. . this has pass touchdown this body with all yay votes. it is noncorsal. this amendment does one simple
thing. it ensures that a march grid will be reloible. nd that crace is will be a legal crisis as it has been in theless 10 years. it's the same scenario. keep that grid p and running. they do that do. this amendment says, stop stop that practice. if you are told to keep the grid up and rupping, you can do it is 1 days. make our grid.
i yield back. the chair: the gentleman from -- >> i yield back. the chair: the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from oklahoma. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair. ayes have it. ap the amendment is agreed to. >> i move that the committee do now rise. the chair: the question is on rise. mittee now accordingly, the committee now
rises. the chair: mr. speaker, the committee on the hole white house having had under consideration, directs me to .eport that it has to i. the chair the house has had under consideration the nat amendment h.r. 2 and has come thereon.sidering for prop. >> when the house ajourp to nnesota it meets at 9 km today. the speaker pro tempore: woment
read down to the benefit of our nation. as a community of colleagues possessed of multiple layers of friendships unknown to the public eye, this assembly takes special notice today of the passing of howard coble, the much loved and respected member of 30 years, from north carolina. a gentleman to the core, may we all strive to embody his grace, class and respect for this
institution and for those among whom we engage in the worken to done here. -- in the work to be done here. may he rest in peace. and may everything done this day in the people's house be for your ms. foxx: thank you, mr. speaker. today we mourn the loss of howard coble. a dedicated public servant and a champion for his constituents in north carolina's 6th district for 30 years. he never backed down from a challenge to do what was right for north carolina, and always pushed washington to work better for those he represented. howard was the essence of what it means to be a southern gentleman. someone who simply exuded kindness, charm, and compassion. he was a man of integrity and principle, a representative who stood for what is right and who fought on behalf of what makes
america great. he will be missed, but his legacy of service and devotion to north carolina will continue to be the standard that current and fthe speaker pro tempore: t gentleman from north carolina is recognized. >> thank you, mr. speaker. mr. sanford: last night in north carolina we lost one of our favorite sons. howard coble. a man who served in these false for three full decades. yet his heart always belongs to the constituents of the old north state. i'm honored to stand with my colleagues today and others in acknowledging our congressman. howard demonstrated humility and grace. and it was evidence in the way he genuinely loved the people he represented. howard taught us many things, but most of all he demonstrated why statesmanship still matters. in a rhetoric driven political arena, howard understood why tone and approach continues to
make a difference. he is often remembered by his attire, specifically the jacket. no, it didn't match many times, but he was confident enough in who he was. and evidently the ladies seemed to have no problem with it. howard did more than simply make no noise in this place. he made a difference. it's an honor to follow him, may our lord comfort his the gentlelady from north carolina is recognized. ms. adams: thank you, mr. speaker. i rise today to honor former congressman howard coble who passed away last night. howard coble was the epitome of a public servant. he served in the u.s. coast guard, the north carolina state house, and as the congressman for north carolina's 12th congressional --sitionth congressional district for more than 30 years -- sixth congressional district for more than 30 years. he dedicated his life toing and it was exemplified in the way he ran his office. as a freshman member of congress, i took -- looked to coble in serving my constituents. he was steadfast, attentive and
always he put his constituents first. some say he offered the best constituent services of any member. i'll never forget the night howard coble welcomed me to congress. the day i was sworn in. he later wished me well on my new journey as a member. my thoughts and prayers are with his family, his friends and former colleagues during this difficult time. he will be missed but never forgotten. howard coble's legacy will remain in the greensboro community and throughout north carolina as a man who arolina is recognized. mr. price: mr. speaker, it was a little less than a year ago that a number of of us were on the house floor to bid our colleague farewell to howard coble. the series of heartfelt tributes that day from members on both sides of the aisle were a striking reflection of the respect and admiration that so many of us felt for howard and he returned that affection. he always made the extra effort
to get to know those who whom he worked regardless of their stature or party affiliation. howard was also an effective legislator, tireless advocate for the sixth district. he took on complicated and difficult issues in his leadership roles on the judiciary and transportation committees. i was fortunate to partner with him on a number of bipartisan initiatives from teeks tile research to disaster relief, to funding for his beloved coast guard. in an era where our politics are too often fractious and dwifesive, howard's camaraderie, good humor, again rossity of spirit reflected the best of what this institution can be. lisa and i are saddened by his passing. we join his many friends and former colleagues in extending condolences to his famil
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politics seriously and at least vote. but never to make what we christians will call and idol of politics read there are people who of done that, and their people worshiping that idol. rather than the god who caused them to care for the poor and injustices. there is a fine line, something to talk about fairly often. announcer: sunday night on c-span's q&a. announcer: a senate hearing on online consumer reviews look at contractual gag clauses. witnesses include a plaintiff involved a federal lawsuit against an online merchant, related to a critical review she posted on the internet. senate commerce committee chair john thune is sponsoring a bill that prohibits them and contracts between consumers and businesses.
this is one hour and 45 minutes. little did you know that buried in the fine print was an anti-consumer cause for betting you from posting a negative review about the company, even if it is true. this scenario sounds far-fetched, but the sad reality is that it is happening every day across the country. so-called non-disparagement or to clauses are being forced
intimidate consumers. they are egregious, and doing harm to our internet ecosystem. there is a significant amount of time focused on grading policies that unlock the true potential of the internet. contracth stifling terms undermine what we are trying to accomplish in internet policy. the internet as the ability to for the share information. what good is information if it has been sanitized to remove truthful criticism? simply put, imposing consumer clauses can result an unfair bullying. it is frequented by a larger entity. often, consumers do believe they have any power against companies that treat them party. but social media has given american consumers a tremendous amount of power. consumers rightly place high ofues on the experience other consumers, they rely on the wisdom of the crowd.
some consumers sometimes abuse the internet with false reviews? sure they do. but consumers have the ability to sue for defamation. they should be able to offset phony reviews with positive assessments. regrettably, there are a growing number of businesses in the place that are blocking, rather than responding to negative criticism. today, we're joined by jennifer palmer. she will share her personal experience fighting against the company that sought a $3500 fee because she sought customer service. they were able to challenge this abuse in court and persevere. they have fought alone. in one case, a dentist included a non-disparagement clause in her contract. and the copyright anything the patient may later write about the dentistry when a patient
posted an online review, the dentist sent a takedown notice. she also sent the patient a series of invoices. the patient sued the dentist and the court found cause to be unconscionable and void. there were the patient nearly $5,000. in another case, a consumer did not receive your order, in response, the company demanded that the consumer pay $250 for violation of its fine print terms of sale, with pivoted a customer from even threatening to make a public statement about the retailer. the consumer file suit, alleging the actions were unfair and contrary to public policy. the court ultimately found in the consumer's favor. one hotel went so far as to inform newlyweds they could be fined their guests if they
violated a gag clause if they left a negative review. the business changed its terms. keep in mind for the vast majority of clauses never see public light. this is because consumers often pressure. they would rather avoid the fight or damage to their credit scores. the proliferation of this problem that senators to reduce the bipartisan and bicameral consumer review act. which would still permit companies to pursue good faith defamation claims. to enforce against these anticonsumer provisions, the ftc recently filed suit over consumer gag clauses. freedom act would allow us to fight. we have worked with stakeholders
and plan to make a few changes prior to marking of the bill. i'm looking forward to moving this legislation so americans can still help others make decisions. we have asked the panel here today with diverse experiences on this issue. you each bring a unique perspective. i look forward to hearing about your thoughts on our legislation. i want to thank you for agreeing to testify and to be with us today. senator nelson? senator nelson: thank you, mr. chairman. so companies want to muzzle consumers. and these companies are using their size and unequal bargaining power to force consumers to sign these take it or leave it agreements, or contracts. some cases, these agreements are just online pop-up items that the consumer clicks on. usually without reading all the small print, to purchase a good
or service on the internet. them, butone reads they can have major consequences. i was in law school, they called these contracts of adhesion. they are called adhesion because you are stuck with them. contractt modify the in any way. you are bound by the fine print that lawyers are so good at drafting. and the idea that some companies are suing or threatening to sue their customers for truth fully reviewing their consumer experience, because of the so-called disparagement clauses in contracts in the fine print, i think it is appalling.
so we need to do something about it. and thankfully, mr. chairman, you are. florida,e like mine of that is so dependent on tourism, we want visitors to share their experiences. jobnesses that do a good should be rewarded with good comments. and those who do not, they ought to be punished. by telling the truth. so mr. chairman, i'm glad your bill would stop this practice avoiding contracts of adhesion that punish consumers for sharing their experiences and their opinions with other consumers. now i think this hearing is timely, mr. chairman. in in yourthis issue bill, and brings up in my mind a related issue that needs to be discussed.
just a few weeks ago, the los angeles times reported that fiat chrysler was requiring consumers who wanted to receive a family must, inon a car they order to get back, sign a mandatory arbitration clause as part of the sales contract. so if the car is defective and consumer,njurs that as was the case with toyotas sudden acceleration or gm's faulty ignition switch or takata's exploding airbags, then you are potentially barred from seeking redress because of that take it or leave it are attrition clause. this type of provision is outrageous. and i think it is obvious. and beyond the automakers themselves, many dealers are
also trying to use these arbitration provisions to shield themselves. toohis committee has seen many examples lately of companies getting away scott free for killing and injuring and hiding the truth. and these non-disparagement and arbitration clauses are just another way for companies to avoid accountability by silencing consumers. so yes, consumers ought to be able to write a negative review about their business experience. but consumers should also have the ability to seek justice in a court of law when businesses fail to hold up there and of the bargain. failure ends that up in injury or death. we just simply can't let people continued to get off scott free.
so thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for the hearing. chairman: thank you, senator nelson. i want to come up with a record, just add letters of support for the legislation. this one is from angie hicks of angie's list. she said the act would prohibit use of these clauses and waivers which are blatant mother often cleverly disguised efforts to strip americans of their rights to discuss their experience. the internet association said we applaud the hearing on the bipartisan bill introduced as i mentioned, by several of our colleagues. the american consumer institute center for citizen research, also a letter of support. and then one as well from another coalition that includes projects,c knowledge among many others. so i went into those for the record.
now i want to open it up and look forward to hearing from our panel today. we have with us, beginning my left mr. adam medrose. senior vice president of global product for trip advisor. robert atkinson is president of innovation. limited early,, is one of the main plaintiffs in palmer versus kleargear. mr. eric goldman's professor at santa clara professor of law, director of the high-tech law institute. ,nd finally, mr. ira reingold director of the national association of consumer advocates. welcome to all of you. great to have you here. we'll start on my left, you're right with mr. medrose. proceed with your statement, as close to five minutes as possible. we will get into questions later. thgood morning, chairman une. thank you for inviting me to
testify on a very important topic. i very much appreciate your recent introduction of the consumer review freedom act. i am the head of global product of trip advisor. i lead it team that is responsible for all aspects, including the collection, moderation, and display of traveler reviews. for those who do not recall what it was like to book a trip, prior to the internet must let us rewind. because of the nature of travel and the importance we face on vacations was a risky proposition. weaver and research on your own, called multiple airlines or rely on a travel broker. if you are really lucky, maybe you would find a visitor would been there before. but putting simply, you are buying blind. platforms like trip advisor improved that. with access to customer reviews,
you are no longer constrained to what family purchased. as a result, american consumers can makes infinitely more informed decisions about how to spend their money. but as most businesses have come to embrace the shift in knowledge, a minority refused to let consumers share experiences. a popular tactic is to use their contractual language to silence critics. this underhanded practice harms those reviews, those seeking transparency from other experiences, and those businesses that are playing by the rules. trip advisor hosts more than 250 million reviews from our community. trip advisor encourages good or bad, and experiences at hotels attractions, we believe in the right to do so. arerder to ensure they
presented with both sides of the story. as you know, trip advisor is far from the only source. americans are increasingly returning to amazon, yelp, angie's list. from what doctor to visit to whom it can hire to remodel the kitchen's. in fact, recent study revealed 70% of all american choppers rely on online views. just this year, the united kingdom found that 54% of adults rely on online reviews and every 70% of hotel shoppers consider online reviews to be more popular. it is clear that consumer reviews have become a cripple heart of the marketplace -- critical part of the marketplace. we know that some businesses do not like the transparency that online views have brought. some believe they need to intimidate consumers to get critical reviews from being
submitted. other seek the same result by hiding small print, stability that any negative review will incur a hefty fine. consumers usually have no idea they are signing up for such agreements, which are usually only provided in small print at the point of purchase. and even those who read the clauses lack the leverage to have them removed, while thinning of the check in d esk. while the intention is mainly to gag negative opinions, exact language can vary. "since thatlude reviews are detrimental to our business, if hotel receives a and is out of context, than a fine of $300 will be charged on a credit card on file." dealing with companies and individuals that deal with these agreements can be tricky for a
platform like trip advisor. the easy solution would be to remove the listing, but that is often exactly what the company wants -- to eliminate the ability to comment on them. doing so would be a disservice to all travelers. andre taking the businesses warning travelers of the unscrupulous behavior. this is imperfect, and one would be improved by the passage of the act. boilerplate goes against everything we stand for. a consumer can tell people about her friend offline, and she has a right to share that opinion online -- along businesses and other customers to benefit therefrom. everyone is harmed by gag orders. when the consumer is censored, the public is less informed. and a given business, even the business doing the silence, it
is harmed. these types of clauses serve no positive role in the american market place. and they stand in the way of consumer transparency. in conclusion, after the looks forward to working with you and the committee to ensure that american consumers are not prevented from sharing opinions and expenses with potential customers, whether it is done in person or the internet. i welcome your questions on this important topic. >> thank you. mr. atkinson? >> i appreciate the opportunity to come before you today to talk about the impact of non-disparagement clauses on consumers in the economy. the information technology foundation has long focused on policies to enable the internet economy to thrive. in this particular area you are addressing with the act is a critical one, if that is good to be our goal. it raises three issues today. the first one is economic theory.
and the economics behind us, there has long been of human economics that functioning -- effective functioning of markets depend on information. received theomists nobel prize in 2001 for their research related to what they called asymmetric information. this is exactly what is going on here. when you go to a hotel, you do not know anything about what you see. the hotel knows everything. this is a market with asymmetric information. they won the nobel prize because they shows the markets with that information underperformed what would otherwise be economic welfare for everyone, consumers in the overall economy. in particular, this and other researchers found that markets do not perform effectively, number one, if buyers cannot accurately assess the value before they buy. you go to a whole tell you not
federal government should not be involved in these questions. we should let the states deal with this. they are better positioned. and in many cases, states are best positioned. in general when it comes to the internet economy, we cannot rely on states to set policy for two big reasons. one is that you end up with different policies between states. in the second reason is that in many of these cases, trip advisor and hotel reviews in florida, many are not florida residents. a state may say want to protect our businesses not allowing this. but they're hurting consumers all around the country because consumers everywhere use these. i think it really is a very clear justification for federal action. the third would be, what about the possible harms to businesses where there is a bad review? i think it has been pointed out
already that this bill would not prohibit companies from already using existing legal tools for defamation. a more portly, there has been a lot of evidence now that we site and our testimony, that even when a company receives a bad, review the company manager affirmatively responsive that oriew, and says we are sorry thanks for the review we will problem, itthat gets better results with consumers. they believe that the manager or the company is taking consumer complaints seriously. they're more likely to trust this. this was a study about hotels that found regardless of reviews , they began to receive higher ratings and guess after hotel managers started to respond to feedback. i have heard that from hotel managers.
husband made a purchase for less than $20. when the items failed to arrive, we attempted to contact them by e-mail. we never get a human being on the phone. but the e-mail response claimed the order was never paid for and was canceled. frustrated at the customer service, we moved on with our lives. in may of 2012, john got an e-mail the mating of my revie be removed. the clause which barred customers from quote "taking any action which negatively impacts the reputation, services, management, or employees" did not exist when john or the items.the the cause to not appear until three years after my reviews
have been posted. we were shocked and scared. i spent hours researching how to remove the review, only to find out they have a policy of not removing reviews. john tried to explain it cannot be removed, that the nondisturbance clause not exist at the time, and that he did not write the review. i did. they responded by threatening to report the $3500 fine. we purchased a credit monitoring service for john. reportonths later, the appeared on his credit. we disputed the credit bureaus to no success. they repeatedly confirmed the debt is valid. we cannot afford to hire an attorney. it would be more than 18 months before john's credit would be clear again. we have been very careful to live within our means, using financing only for large
purchases like our cars and 2008 and 2011, our house in 2009, and medical bills not covered by insurance. we had no problems getting financing for those. thefor a year and a half, black mark on john's credit caused fear and anxiety when people would ask us why do we own them $3500? we were denied a credit card, th delayed on a car loan, and denied a new home. the worst game and were denied emergency financing to replace a broken furnace. ,e were desperate, ref wrapping our son and a blanket in near freezing temperatures. we feared social services would take our son away from us because we had no heat. between our paycheck, we were able to buy a basic furnace with cash. we were tired of living in constant anxiety and fear.
a reporter insulting city did a segment on our plight and got us in contact with a nonprofit organization which represented us ensuing the company. they helped us clear of the company. after bullying us for so long, they never even showed up to defend themselves in court. throughout our entire ordeal, they only wanted two things. that all cases be cleared from credit and do whatever he could to mixture no one had to endure the nightmare that we did. we applaud the committee for proposing to adjust the column by giving the state authority to go after companies that use them. we are not the only victims of this type of conduct, as public citizen has reported several times on the website and blog. families should have the power to restrict speech. any. . stop.ds to
we think states should be free to enforce this law anyway they can. i was not here that restrictions from the attorney general office is being removed. i'm great over the opportunity to share my experience with you. on behalf of my husband, son, and all consumers being bullied out there, i urge you to pass the bill never have as these causes and provide for robust enforcement of the law. thank you. chairman: thank you, miss palmer. professor goldman? mr. chairmandman: appreciate the opportunity. how congress can help protect consumer reviews.
i commend the committee and sponsors for their leadership. reviews are vitally important. when consumers guide other consumers away from poor ones. despite the social benefits and rated by consumer reviews, some businesses try to distort public reputation by suppressing reviews from customers. these efforts are categorically illegitimate. the consumer review freedom act will ensure that everyone has a chance to add their voice to the discourse. because contractual restrictions is a terrible idea, it seems like existing laws and ship the practice. although there is some president to support that -- precedent, i have two reasons why we still need it. causes term anti-review what people are calling gag
clauses are non-disparagement clauses. we do have a nomenclature problem. i'm sorry for compounding that. force public policy or other reasons. but judges do not like to override contractual provisions. so anti-review clauses do not fail in court. i would call your attention to particular case. involved a vacation rental contract required tenets to agree they would not use blogs websites to complain anonymously or not. we do not have an idea how many consumers were deterred by this clause from sharing their degrees. but we do know there were two tenets who did post reviews online, and defiance of the band. the landlord then sued these two in court. they were not defamatory, but the tenets may have breached the rental contract. in other words, this really
means that anti-review causes expose the tenant to potential liability for sharing what was a non-defamatory review. the consumer review freedom act will eliminate any ambiguity over the enforceability of anti-review clauses. it will mean that all customers will enjoy legal certainty about their rights to speak up. the second reason why we need the consumer review freedom act is that companies seek to shape their reputation, offering the illusion of control. anti-review clauses will keep proliferating unless they are banned. this illustrates how it might happen. in late 2000, a copy called medical justice sold for in contracts to health care professionals that contained anti-review clauses. medical justices pitched to the doctors was elegant and
tempting. and implied that by using this form contract doctors and professionals could seemingly obtain a magic want to scrub unwanted reviews from the internet. over the years, i estimate that over 1000 doctors and other professionals deployed such anti-review clauses. and that over one million americans signed suc provision. incalculable, although medical justice change position in 2011 and told consumers to stop using the form. even today, it can be hard to find robust numbers of patient reviews for many health care providers. although health-care industry adoption may seem to be an extreme case, we are likely to see similar effects and other industries dominated by small businesses and professional service providers. why these categories? in many cases, they pride themselves and closely linked
themselves to reputation. negative feedback about the xusiness feels like a refle on them as individual. the landlord might take it as a criticism of aesthetic tates. the patient says she doesn't like the bedside manner, the doctor if you like her personality is being resized. small business owners will be attracted to interview clauses. therefore, without the consumer review freedom act, other industries will embrace anti-review clauses. and we as consumers will all be poorer for it. i'm from busy congress aching on that fight -- i am thrilled to see congress taking on that fight. >> thank you very much. mr. reinhold? >> members of the committee, i like to make three points. one, no one who has been paying
attention over the past decade, at consumer rights have been stripped away, should be surprised that the presence and growth of non-disparagement or gag clauses. two, the idea but signed the legislation is a good one. if it's into the long history of legislative action designed to not only protect consumers but also market economy. and three, we are unable to support this bill because it seeks to limit the enforcement rights of state and federal officials. i unfortunately see the logical conclusion of a decades long corporate effort to strip consumers of yet another fundamental right. in the fine print, consumers are typically required to waive all sorts of rights. and with these gag clauses, the right to even speak. what is happening is obvious. through the use of indecipherable language and
nonnegotiable form contracts, corporations has excessively stipped consumers. why would we want to do the same to first amendment rights? in my early years as an attorney, i wouldn't believe these clauses would have been deemed unconscionable and unenforceable. surely there was no consent by the consumer. it was unconscionable for powerful businesses to deny consumers to tell their story. shirley we can prove that these clauses -- shortly we can prove -- sure we can prove i would be wrong. we cannot stop the supreme court from stopping the fun of it right from consumer. we should not repeat that mistake. passfore, congress should the arbitration fairness act. these gag clauses attacked the
fair and functioning american marketplace by prohibiting consumers never citing the theirm of emphasizing thoughts and freedoms with other consumers. legislaturesstate have recognized this fact on catalyst occasions and passed a wide variety of laws on the grounds of this breed laws were created with the understanding that our market economy would not function properly if unscrewed list businesses were allowed to profit from unfair and deceptive trade practices and inevitably gain competitive advantage over honest businesses. the truth in lending act exists in large part because our understanding that a fair and functioning marketplace is dependent on consumers making knowledgeable decisions. the fair credit reporting act, a law this committee is intimately familiar with, was passed with the full recognition that decisions based on all the
information, without it, it undermines the consumer economy. clauses.o ban these our market economy only functions properly when unfair practices are exposed and consumers do not make decisions based on faulty information. but instead on all information. whether disclosed by law or shared by others, made by consumers to use or ignore, in the process. while the protections are essential for our marketplace to the passage is not enough to make sure it is complied with. strong enforcement of the statutes by public regulators or by private consumers is essential for laws to have their full effect. attorney generals across the work.y have done yeoman's
these important public services want to protect the state economy. their efforts including working across state lines in a bipartisan manner have been essential in obtaining justice for consumers far beyond what might be possible if the work were limited to what was achievable by their own limited staff and advocacy ty. similarly, particularly in instances when they are attempting to enforce the law against corporations, that has led to a measure of justice that would be otherwise unattainable. if we want attorneys general to enforce a law, congress should not limit officials how to best protect officials in their state. we fully support the idea. there is no place in the american economy for denying consumers, like jennifer palmer, the right to speak freely about the marketplace. for a consumer marketplace to be
fully effective, it must be fully enforceable. it limits the ability for the public to enforce, we cannot enforce it. if this provision is moved from the bill, we would be pleased in offering our full support for this important legislative effort. >> thank you. we appreciate your comments on the legislation. august the, we would take into consideration your thoughts as we continue to shape it. i want to start with five-minute rounds of questions. mrs. palmer, you have been through a harrowing ordeal. most people would have given up. but you persisted and kept fighting. even now, the come across the your story with us today, links. yourave volumes about
engagement. why have you continue to stay engaged? two things weonly wanted was for my husband's credit was to be clean so we can move on with our lives, and we really did want to make sure this never happened to anybody else ever again. when i first contacted the media, i hope that if our story got out there other people would be inspired to come forward. what can i do to stop it? we never dreamed it would come this far. we really did not. i'm so pleased that you are looking at pushing through legislation on a federal level. i'm happy to do anything i can to assist that. your story.iate you testified that one the purposes is to bully and intimidate consumers and removing negative reviews.
you said you were scared and shocked. i'm wondering if your experience kleargear has given you pause about posting other reviews. jennifer: absolutely not. i continue to post reviews for wonderful service and great products to let other consumers know that yes, you should definitely buy from this company. they're wonderful. and also for companies that maybe fell short of the mark and did not provide such a great product. that information is just as important as a good review. experienced, you it cannot get any worse. right? jennifer: i would hope not. steps, advisor has taken but on the other side of the equation, amazon recently sued a
number of companies that allegedly facilitate fake reviews online. do you see other large internet companies taking measures to clean up online reviews to make sure that consumers are getting accurate and authentic information? >> absolutely. before i have to do, and thank you for inviting us and pushing the subsection four, we think it is incredibly important. without a doubt, we see businesses in the hospitality industry attempt to silence critics of their services. and this place up across a number of industries. you mentioned amazon. we've seen it with yelp in trying to push and bully yelp reviewers or other reviewers to remove their comments, to reduce the severity of their comments. bury thoseght
comments with omore positive comments. i thought you made a great point when discussing how consumer reviews make markets stronger and more efficient, because they help guide consumers to the best products. to what extent do you think gag clauses may be distorting the market? are most consumers aware? >> they are only a small part of a much larger problem. there are so many disincentives for consumers to share their opinions and perspectives about the businesses they deal with. and each of those becomes a friction point or a wedge in their witness to share. not palmer said she has been bullied off the internet. most consumers do not have the fortitude and confidence she has. gag clauses are just one way
businesses can threaten consumers to get them to not only stifle themselves, but remove their legitimate views. there are other tools copies used him as well. for example, threatening defamation and say we're going to sue you and take you to court if you do not remove it. that is why i would also call your attention to things like law.rrow anti-slap that would be another tool to protect consumers. thune: my time is expired. i turned to senator nelson. senator nelson: sen. nelson: i am so sorry that you had this experience. when you went to the tv station and started getting some publicity, is that when you decided to go into court? -- listedu are lifted as the plaintiff. been seekinge had
legal help before we went to the media. i contacted several lawyers and did a lot of legal research to find out what my options were. for all the lawyers i spoke to and said, do we have a case? they say, yes, we do. i said, great. can you represent us? they said, we are not touching that with a 10-foothold. -- 10-foot pole. and so shady that most did not want to touch it. it was only after we talk to the media that we found a lawyer who was willing to step forward. a public citizen came forward and said, we can help you. we want to help you. we have the means and resources to do so. sen. nelson: well that is a good news story. mr. medros, i want to look at the other side. tell us about evidence of bad actors trying to take advantage of
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